In today’s New York Times, John Tierney has a wonderful spoof of the world-famous opera house, La Scala, commissioning a new opera based on Al Gore’s PowerPoint presentation “An Inconvenient Truth.” It is no spoof, however, that the opera is indeed scheduled to be completed for a La Scala premiere in 2011.
In the form of a letter ostensibly from the commissioned Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli to Al Gore, Tierney creates an almost plausible plot (remember, this is opera) with the hero named Algorino and the heroine Gaia. Of course, the villain is Petroleo. In the letter, the composer is objecting to some of Al Gore’s suggestions for plot revisions. Here’s an example:
I’m sorry you were so saddened by the battle scene and the finale. I agree it would end more happily if Algorino vanquished Petroleo and reburied the Minemaidens’ treasure. No doubt we could create a fine aria for Carbonia as she is “sequestered” underground (although we might be accused of copying the “Aida” entombment finale). As you suggest, we could end with an ensemble celebration of Algorino’s marriage to Gaia.
But would a happy ending truly satisfy your devotees — or La Scala’s? Better to stay with tradition. I feel sure that audiences, like the earth goddess, will be moved to tears by the “Ciao, Gaia” aria of the mortally wounded Algorino, and then riveted as she feverishly wanders the stage. With the right soprano, I believe “Basta con la temperatura!” could be an unforgettable Mad Scene.
Read the whole letter — don’t miss the discussion of the High CO2 Duet — and consider submitting your own libretto to Tierney.